Networking unlocks doors for successful careers

Last week, members of the Tech Valley Young Professionals Network, an initiative of the Capital Region Chamber of Commerce, visited my marketing class. They came for a panel discussion. First, they gave a presentation and answered some questions they had prepared themselves. Then, they spoke to us in small groups. The main idea they got across was that the real world is much different than what we expect, and not in a nice way.

Speaking from experience, the panelists explained that it will be difficult for us, college students, to transition from college into the workplace. They explained that the work we will be doing and the environment in which we will be doing it will be different. Also, that in the real world there will be more responsibilities, and that they will most likely shock and overwhelm us. But, didn’t we already know this? I think that’s why we come to college, not only to learn, but to prepare for the real world adults talk about. According to https://adaa.org, 85 percent of college students already feel overwhelmed.

I do agree, however, that we should help ourselves, and make this transition easier. It’s good to have experience working and paying bills. My parents made sure I learned that in high school. I have a credit card, and I mostly pay for my own stuff, including my car insurance and tuition.

I guess, after everything they said, what really scares me isn’t the real world, but the fact that I have no idea what I want to do after I graduate. I feel a great deal of pressure trying to figure this out. “You have time,” people keep telling me, but I’m not so sure.

As a student majoring in business and management and trying to decide which field to concentrate in, I paid close attention to what the panelists had to say. Each of them had much advice to give with regards to their particular career paths in the business and management fields. “Networking” was the word that stood out the most when they spoke about successful careers. All the panelists I asked about the importance of networking answered by saying that they had never actually obtained a job by just applying. Instead, they had to make connections and get referred by people they knew. This answer really opened up my eyes. This Wednesday, I will be going to one of the Young Professionals Network’s events. The main purpose of their events is to connect young students with local companies and businesses, in order to help them build those essential networks early in their careers. I have come to the conclusion that I must start meeting people and prepare to succeed in the real word.